Monday, October 6, 2014

2014 Crystal Kite Finalists Australia/New Zealand and "Other International"

By Susan J. Berger


At last. The sixth Crystal Kite Post covers the finalists and winners in the final two regions: Australia, New Zealand and Other International. Several of these has no first lines available.

I linked to the publisher when I could not find a US link.


Again: The annual Crystal Kite Award is a peer-given award to recognize great books from 15 SCBWI regional divisions around the world. It is a rather odd award in that there are no Categories. Therefore a picture books compete against chapter books and young adult novels.

Australia, New Zealand 

Ali Berber and the Forty Grains of Salt by Sheryl Gwyther  

Ali Berber is a young merchant, keen to impress the King of Alhambra with the amazing flavour his salt brings to food. The king is impressed – until Ali’s forty grains of salt disappear. Now, instead of being rewarded, Ali is in danger of being beheaded! Can he solve the mystery of the disappearing salt before it is too late?
This is an early reader only available in Australia/New Zealand from Pearson.


Big Red Kangaroo by Claire Saxby

Far inland, the sun floats on the waves of a bake-earth day. Big Red and his mob of kangaroos wait for night-time when they can search for food. Young male kangaroos wait too - ready to challenge Red and take his place as leader. 

This is in their True Nature Story series

Granny Grommet and Me by Dianne Wolfer, Illustrated by Karen Blair

My granny and her friends go to the beach, and I go too. When they hit the surf, they duck and dive and twist and turn. It looks like lots of fun. But I don t want to go in the water. There are strange things under the waves
This was based on real surfing Grannies. Go to
Diane Wolfer’s Website to read about it.


The Boy on the Page Written and Illustrated by Peter Carnavas

One quiet morning, a small boy landed on the page. At first, there was nothing else.
Then very slowly, a world began to appear.
New life emerged. Things started to grow…and so did the boy.

I would love to read this. I wish it was available in the US

The Wishbird Written and Illustrated by Gabrielle Wang
In the ancient Banyan tree the Wishbird lay still and silent. His breath was thin, the thread between the Kind and himself growing ever weaker. Soon it would break and when that time came, both would die, and so would the city, for its heart would be lost forever.
But death did not worry the Wishbird. He had lived for a thousand years and more. And he would go on living, in another shape, another form –in the clouds in the earth, in the lakes and seas.
What did worry him was Oriole. Sweet Oriole.


Welcome Home Written and Illustrated by Christina Booth

Welcome Home is the story of a young boy and a whale as she swims into the river harbour seeking safety and a resolution to the violent past relationship between whales and man. This prosaic journey, accompanied with soft, sketchy watercolour imagoes, reveals how the past can impact our future. Can the boy make amends for the past? Can the whale forgive and return to what was once her ancestors' home

Welcome Home won the 2014 Environment Award for Children’s Literature. You can visit Christine at



Zac and Mia by AJ Betts

A newbie arrives next door. From this side if the was I hear the shuffle of feet, unsure of where to stand. I hear Nina going through the arrival instructions in that buoyant air hostesss way, as if theis “flight” will go smoothly, no need to pull the emergency exit lever. Just relax and enjoy the service. Nina has the kind of voice you believe.

I kept reading. It starts out in a cancer treatment center and Wow! I’m going to see if I can get hold of this.

Other International

Blossoms of Scarlet Illustrated by Marjorie van Heerden

Blossoms of Scarlet is an exciting love story from a new voice in teenage fiction. This fantasy is packed with action and emotion and will transport its readers on a dramatic trip into another world.

I took this from
Marjorie’s website
“My gaze fell upon the family coat of arms on the carriage floor. It was dark purple, with snakes of the same colour winding around the edges. Unbidden, cold fear gripped me. What if this was to be the year that the Great Prophecy came true? I feared I would not be strong enough for the fight it would bring. But most of all, was afraid to have my people suffer under my reign.”

The Oracle has warned that the land of Orenda will be attacked by a powerful warrior, who is yet to be born. It is the duty of the beautiful young queen, Karalina, to lead the fight against this evil and vanquish the threat.


The Lost (And Found) Balloon Celeste Jenkins Illustrated by Maria Bogade

Molly O’Doon ties a note to her red balloon, lets it loose, and off it goes on a buoyant adventure. Who will answer Molly’s letter? Someone in a different state or a faraway country? Or maybe, a new friend much closer than she could ever imagine.  

The Lost (and Found) Balloon is the winner of the 5th annual Cheerios® New Author Contest. Selected from more than 8,000 entries by a team of editors, teachers, librarians, and General Mills staff, The Lost (and Found) Balloon will also appear in a bilingual (English/Spanish) mini-paperback edition in 1.5 million specially marked boxes of Cheerios.

Dragon Fire by Dina von Lowenkraft

Chapter 1
The Circle Tightens
The candle flickered in the subzero wind but Anna made no move to protect it. She stopped on the hill in front of Tromso's three-year high school and watched the water of the fjord shimmer below. Even though it was mid-afternoon there was no sun, just the luminous reflection of the moon.  The procession of students continues on without her, leaving only the fading sound of crunching snow in their wake.
This isn't a world I know. I read on and I do want to read this one.


Chick-o-Saurus Rex by Lenore Appelhans, Illustrated by Daniel Jennewein
The humorous story of a little chick who proves his mettle to the farm's big bullies when he discovers he has a very mighty lineage. Writing as Lenore Jennewein.
I couldn’t find a preview copy of this book, but I did find the
author’s website and the book trailer.

I hope you found a book you want to pursue. If you haven't read them, here are the other 2014 Crystal Kite Posts:
Crystal Kites Atlantic, Mid South and Southeast
California Hawaii and the West
Southwest and Midwest  New England, New York and Texas/Oklahoma  UK/Ireland, Middle East/India/Asia and Canada

Happy Reading


  1. I like Chick-o-Saurus Rex. The book will be banned by Creationists. "Birds descended from Dinosaurs! Egads!"

  2. I love the illustrations of Big Red Kangaroo! They're awesome.


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